Sale of Goods by Description

By the provisions of S.13 of the SOGA, where there is a sale of goods by description, there is an implied condition that the goods sold would fit the description that has been provided by the seller.

In the case of Varley vs Whipp 1900 1 QB 513, the plaintiff sold a reaping machine to the defendant. The machine was described to be about a year old and used to cut about 50 to 60 acres. On getting the machine, it was discovered to be very old and the defendant returned it. The plaintiff sued for the contract price.

The court held that the defendant could reject the goods since they didn’t fit the description provided and were a breach of condition as provided by S.13 of the SOGA.

Also, if goods are sold by description and sample, it is not sufficient if the bulk of the goods correspond to the sample and they do not correspond to the decription.


Quality of Fitness for Purpose and Merchantable Quality S.14 SOGA

The Sales of Goods Act provides in S.14 that there is no impled condition as to quality of fitness of purpose except in the following circumstances:

1. Where the buyer purchases the goods by describing the purpose of the goods to the seller and he relies on the seller’s skill or judgement in purchasing the goods, the goods must fit the purpose described. Provided that it is in the seller’s business to supply goods of such description, whether or not he is the manufacturer; S.14(1). However, this doesnt apply to specified goods that are bought under their trade name or patent.

2. Where goods are bought by description from a seller who deals in goods of such description, there is an implied condition that such goods should be of merchantable quality. However, if the buyer has examined the goods this provision would not apply.

                      Sale by Sample S.15 SOGA

 A contract of sale is a sale by sample where there is a term either express or implied in the contract that states it as such; S.15(1) SOGA.  In a contract of sale by sample, there is an implied condition that the bulk of the goods would correspond to the sample in quality; S.15 (2) (a).

There is also an implied condition that the buyer would have a reasonable opportunity of comparing the bulk and the sample; S.15 (2) (b). There is another implied condition that the goods are free from defects rendering it non merchantable if the defects are such as cannot be discovered on examination of the sample; S.15(2)(c) SOGA.


  1. Lecture on Commercial Law delivered by Dr. Mrs H.I Saadu, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin.
  2. MC Okany: Nigerian Commercial Law
  3. Sales of Goods Act



  1. Good day sir, Please I need an assistance in the fact, decision and judgment held in the case of Raimsdeen v Chessman. your responds will be very much appreciated sir.

  2. Hi, this is so much helpul thanks a lot. Pls I have an exam on commercial law this week, I need to know where I can get recently decided cases (2015-2021) particularly on the implied terms (13-15) under sales of good Act. I will really appreciate it if you reply it is urgent. Thanks.

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